Brooklyn in 2 weeks (coming from CA) ... suggestions?
Mom wants to go to Coney Island .... is it worth it? But I need other things to do (and probably better food) ... recommendations are VERY much appreciated :)
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Driving in from CT and planning to walk the Brooklyn Bridge and go to Coney Island in one day? You won't be left with much time.
I'm not a Brooklyn native and the charms of Coney Island and Nathan's are lost on me. Most of the food out there is forgettable to me but for some there is a certain proustian element to eating there. Not worth it to me, but if your mother wants to go, you should go. On a nice day, its just pleasant to be out by the ocean.
There isn't much time in your day for doing much else. If you walk the bridge, plan an hour. The drive from the bridge to Coney Island can take 30 minutes or an hour depending on the traffic. Same coming back. Spend some time on the boardwalk and a good chunk of the day is gone.
Don't expect to find free parking around the bridge. Use a lot or a garage. In the immediate area, I would suggest getting a pizza at Juliana's to get a taste of NY style pizza.
No asian and alternatives to italian really limit your choices. Is this a lunch or dinner? Is mexican ok? Maybe not since you are from CA. Maybe some of the russian/eastern european places in Brighton Beach? I'm no expert on those but there are others here who know.
If you're coming on a Sunday, maybe try Smorgasburg while you are at the BB Park. Perhaps the vendors around the Red Hook ball fields?
Depending on the parts of CA the OP is coming from, im not sure that Red Hook Ballfields would be worth it.
If we could get where in CA you're coming from it would help, to a degree.
I do think that Brighton Beach/Russian/Georgian might be an experience you wouldnt get at home - it seems that the Neptune ave location of Cheburechnaya is no longer open.
How "out there" are you willing to go? My (driving) geography isnt awesome but is Neerob in Parkchester (the Bronx) on your way into/out of town? Is south asian still asian for you?
If youre taking the BQE between Coney Island and the Bridge perhaps hopping off mid-way and checking out Korzo would be worthwhile: http://www.beetketchup.com/
As a california native eastern/central european food was not something i grew up around - and the fried burgers are really pretty delicious.
If you could follow up with info on where exactly youre coming from, and perhaps narrow what you are or are not looking for a bit, it would be easier to give more precise guidance.
Brooklyn Bridge -> Coney Island - Rent a bike. Does she like old Roller Coasters? Beyond the Cyclone there is not much to recommend it over any other beach or amusement park.
Don't know what is available in CA. Brooklyn has a large Caribbean Community.
Small "Ital" food store, you can eat at a counter. Near the park which is a better choice to eat what you buy.
Many places that sell jerk chicken and 'roti' search for latest reviews.
Near coney island is an eastern european Russian area. If interested search for posts on what to eat.
Unless you are fascinated with Brooklyn, Manhattan is probably a better place for a tourist.
Part of the F train and other lines running through brooklyn are elevated to roof top height, so it is like an amusement park tram if you are a tourist. Or a horrible daily tour of dilapidated tenement buildings if you commute to work. In Queens the elevated number 7 train is probably a better show. Dining options along the #7 are better than Brooklyn. The world's fair site and flushing meadow is interesting.
Possibly of interest is walking from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge and returning over the Manhattan Bridge.
I think some of the replies you are receiving aren't from Brooklynites.
Coney Island is an extremely nostalgic destination, especially for those of us who remember its epic downturn in the 70s and 80s. Over the years, even prior to Hurricane Sandy, it has been experiencing a renaissance. I say it is definitely a worthy destination.
Food-wise, the best choices in Coney Island proper are Nathan's, Totonno's (coal-fired oven pizza), and Gargiulo's (old-school Italian). If your mom is indeed feeling nostalgic, then Nathan's should be your first food stop. This outpost still has "unique" food choices like frog's legs. I personally think the hot dogs and fries taste better when eaten on the boardwalk.
Speaking of the boardwalk, you really should walk along it from Coney towards Brighton Beach. It will give you a good overview of what's currently happening in Coney Island. You can check out the Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park, the aquarium, or something a little more bizarre like the Coney Island Circus Sideshow. Has your mom ever been on the Wonder Wheel? You still have a choice of swinging or stationary cars.
Do you and mom like to explore ethnic neighborhoods? You may want to walk along Brighton Beach Avenue and check out the Eastern European shops and eateries. You will forget you're in NY. In terms of restaurants, I always enjoy Cafe Glechik. Lamb pelmeni and a glass of compote are always satisfying in the most basic way, like a refined version of ravioli and fruit punch.
Best advice so far.
Allow me to supplement ...
Train down from CT to Grand Central.
Take the "6" downtown to City Hall.
Walk the Bridge.
Catch the "F" at York Street outbound to Coney Island.
(short ... winded)
Head to Totonno's on Neptune Ave for a pie (say hello to Cookie).
(long ... but striding surf-side, not so bad)
As you face the water, head left and walk toward Brighton.
I've enjoyed Cafe Glechik, but the people watching off the boardwalk eateries is worth a shot.